The COVID-19 global pandemic has made its way to the list of the largest infectious outbreaks in recorded history.
As of the writing of this article, this viral infection has affected more than 8.2 million people, with over 446,000 deaths.
Moreover, this disease impacted global economies, which led to the complete paralysis of the biggest metropolis around the world, forcing people to be in obligatory quarantine for months.
As you can see, this pandemic is causing devastating consequences that extend beyond what meets the eye.
For instance, the psychological stress that accompanies this pandemic is far more destructive than any other lifestyle factor, hence the importance of mastering some coping skills.
In this article, we will briefly cover the damages caused by COVID-19-induced stress, as well as the major ways to cope with this pandemic.
The stress caused by COVID-19
Unfortunately, you will rarely find media outlets covering the devastating effects of this global pandemic on the psychological state of people.
The stress-induced by COVID-19 can lead to several consequences, including depression, general anxiety, and paranoia.
Add to that the long duration of the pandemic (over 6 months), and you got yourself the perfect recipe for major stress.
How to cope with this stress
There are two approaches to cope with the stress that comes with this global pandemic:
- Taking precautionary measures
- Practicing anti-stress activities
While it might seem counterintuitive at first, taking precautionary measures does not necessarily mean being paranoid about the virus.
It simply implies that you have taken the steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Here are some essential measures to protect yourself from the coronavirus:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the main route of COVID-19 transmission occurs via respiratory droplets.
These tiny vesicles of water contain large numbers of SARS-Cov2 that get transmitted to other individuals during coughing or sneezing.
Moreover, other routes of transmission do exist, such as contaminating solid surfaces, which act as carriers of the virus.
Fortunately, this virus is extremely susceptible to soap and alcohol-based disinfectants due to its lipid outer membrane.
Therefore, as a citizen, you must wash your hands frequently to prevent viral transmission to you and your loved ones.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using soap and water to clean your hands, with hand sanitizers being reserved for healthcare professionals.
Do not touch solid surfaces
As cited earlier, researchers concluded that coronavirus can survive for a few hours on solid surfaces, which may facilitate community transmission, especially in public areas.
South Korean health officials came up with a helpful tip that drastically reduced transmission. You should simply use your non-dominant hand to perform daily activities, such as opening the door, touching surfaces, or lifting a cup.
This way, if you happen to touch your face by mistake, you’ll probably do it with the dominant hand, reducing the risk of transmission.
Avoid contact with sick individuals
All international health officials state that the risk of coronavirus transmission is extremely high amongst symptomatic individuals.
Therefore, if you encounter someone who has flu-like symptoms (e.g., cough, fever, difficulty breathing), you should maintain a safe distance and ask them to wear a mask.
When you are confident that you covered the basic precautionary measures, it is time to target your stress triggers:
Lacking the essential information about the coronavirus can easily lead to stress, anxiety, and panic.
To counter this effect, you need to learn more about this virus and the complications it causes. The best way to do that is by reading articles and checking infographics published by reputable sources, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other authoritative websites.
In psychology, the best way to cope with a stressor is by educating yourself on the topic that’s triggering those emotions.
Inform your entourage
This tip follows the previous one.
Informing your family members, friends, and co-workers help you in many different ways. For instance, the fact of being in an educated milieu will significantly help you control your stress levels since there is no room for misinformation and false claims.
Therefore, do not hesitate to share credible information with your entourage.
Practice mind fullness
Since ancient times, meditation was strongly linked to its anxiolytic properties, which is the reason most people perform this activity.
In a classic 2014 meta-analysis, experts concluded that mindfulness can reduce the risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders if practiced regularly.
Put things into perspective
Although this pandemic is quite dangerous, the death rates are relatively low compared to other deadly diseases.
For instance, the United States reports a daily death toll of over 90 people related to automobile accidents.
Moreover, nearly one million patients die annually from myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).
Statistics like these are important to keep things into perspective and reduce your fear of the coronavirus.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down; after all, COVID-19 is still a deadly infectious disease.
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!
Preparing yourself and taking all the precautionary measures cited in this article will serve as a potent anxiolytic therapy.
In a way, this will give you a sense of control over the situation, which helps dissipate the stress that comes from the unknown.
The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the entire world, leading to direct and indirect consequences, including psychological stress.
Hopefully, this article will help you cope with the stress induced by the coronavirus to maintain your psychological and physical health.